From Student to Ambassador: A Two-Year Odyssey within European Leadership Academy

A journey two years long, yet astonishingly rich in experiences, serves as a testament to the transformative power of the European Leadership Academy (ELA). I would not exaggerate in saying that these two years have been the brightest period of my life so far - filled with the laughter of new friendships, top-level learning from global thought leaders, the beauty of travel destinations and the pursuit of dreams. Also, I could not be more grateful and proud to be the alumna of the inaugural School for Female Leadership in the Digital Age. It is a privilege to witness how far both this idea and I have evolved. Let’s have a look: 

July 10, 2021.
I remember this day very vividly - I was enjoying the summer holidays, carelessly scrolling my feed and suddenly noticed an open call for applications for the Summer School. Was it by chance? Seneka once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity". Having a natural passion for new adventures and projects, I did not hesitate to apply. The programme covered a wide range of topics I was interested in - from economics to sustainability, as well as promising to share the necessary skills to succeed in the digital era. Although I understood the importance of technology, to be honest, I was a bit afraid of it, thinking that the lack of hard skills was a major barrier to stepping into this industry. Now it is ridiculous to realise how wrong I was.

July 30, 2021.
It is impossible to describe my feelings after receiving an acceptance e-mail. I like how Berta Herrero Estalayo, Founder & Director of this brilliant initiative, compares it with a letter from Hogwarts. Just an e-mail is already a huge confidence boost, that is how the magic begins! 

August 23, 2021 or Day X.
Due to a cancelled flight, I missed the first opening dinner, but luckily not the other opportunities. I had not met so many influential women in one place before. Moreover, they were sincerely interested in our background. Neither had I met such promising young female talents from different EU countries. During this week, I learned more than from years in university through lectures and workshops, as well as through informal activities and teamwork.

August 27, 2021 
Graduation dinner and another Alisa, who experienced what empowerment actually means. After this quite emotional week, I was feeling equipped with the right knowledge, skills and connections to achieve new heights. All the world seemed open for me now, with many new friends in its different parts. It was sad to get back to reality, but I was motivated to deep dive into topics raised during the School - a huge list of learning materials was waiting for me. The quote by Tony Jong Jin, Vice President of Huawei European Region, at the Gala became my motto - “The harder I work, the luckier I get”.

January 17, 2022 
The School might be over, but not the sisterhood. I was honoured to become an Administration Manager - at the Secretariat (or G-9 as we called it internally), aiming to create a network for all the current and future alumnae. Although my involvement in this status has been limited, it was a great pleasure to reconnect with the girls.

March 8, 2022
What I appreciate the most about the Schools is that they continue to invest in our development even after graduation. If I was told that I would share the stage with respected female leaders during the panel session at the International Women’s Day event in the heart of Brussels, I would not have believed it. However, I needed to overcome my fear of public speaking and get the most out of this experience. And I must admit - it was not scary at all, thanks to the safe environment created around us.

October 27, 2022 
Another chance to reunite with my second family - ELA. This time I delivered a speech at the Women’s Academy for Rural Innovation with a new status - an Ambassador of the ELA. It was a touching yet responsible task and I was honoured to get to know women, who close both the gender and urban-rural gap.

February 25, 2023
The story continues with representing ELA at the Mobile World Congress during the SEEDS Tour. Witnessing the Signing Ceremony between Huawei and Global Alliance for Literacy, visiting the mobile world’s biggest trade fair, announcing the location of the next school at the Women’s conference and - most importantly - meeting fellow alumnae, new role models and top students from all over the world, was a massive experience.

I am convinced that more is still to come - more knowledge will be disseminated, more events will be visited, more connections will be built and more young female talents will join our community.